You're expecting a baby. You're trying to keep track of a billion doctors appointments, get ready for baby's arrival, and you're doing it all on that "pregnancy brain". You've heard about cloth diapers, but are they right for your family?
Why do people use cloth diapers?
People use cloth diapers for many different reasons. Be it saving money (cloth diaper users can save $2500 diapering one child), being kind to the earth, or staying healthy (avoiding irritating fragrances or chemicals found in disposable diapers): any reason is a good reason to use cloth diapers.
What are cloth diapers like?
Cloth diapers have changed a lot over the last few decades. Modern cloth diapers function and go on in a very similar way to disposable diapers. While there are many different styles and types of cloth diapers, rest assured that there is a cloth diaper style that will work for your family.
Do I have to buy them?
Cloth diapers can be rented from a diaper service, or they can be purchased. Your preference and budget will determine which method you select. If you use a diaper service, you may or may not be responsible for laundering your diapers. If you purchase your own diapers you will have to launder them yourself, but you'll also save more money than using a diaper service.
I might have to wash the diapers? Does that mean dealing with poop?
If you have a baby you're going to come in contact with poop, spit-up, and vomit at multiple times during parenthood. If you use disposable diapers you might even have more problems with poop blow-outs. Cloth diapers contain poop, and keep it within the diaper because cloth grabs liquid poop, and elastic leg casings hold it in the diaper. Breastfeed infant poop will dissolve in the washing machine, and babies eating solid foods will have more solid poops that can be knocked into the toilet or rinsed away with a diaper sprayer.
What if I want to try cloth diapering out?
That's a great idea! There are some places that offer trial periods with cloth diapers. You can try several different styles of cloth diapers for a security deposit. Simply keep the diapers you like the best and return the ones you didn't like. Even if baby isn't here yet, seeing the cloth diapers in person will help you decide what type of diaper will work well for your family. Borrowing diapers from a friend, or purchasing a few different styles of diapers in limited quantities are also great ways to test-drive cloth diapers.
Cloth diapers seem expensive, how can I save money?
Great question. I have a post here explaining 7 ways for you to save money on building your cloth diaper stash. You'll probably want to buy some diapers before baby is born, but be conservative and leave money in the budget to buy more of your favorite diapers after baby arrives. It's a good idea to start with a smaller diaper stash and expand once you've determined a particular style or brand works well for you.
What if I have problems?
When you're learning anything new (be it caring for a new infant, or putting on any type of diaper) there are going to be times when things don't go perfectly. If you have questions or problems when using cloth diapers, seek out guidance at your local retailer or a trusted online community (like Cloth Diaper Guru on Facebook). A quick Google search of the problem is always helpful, however remember to check your manufacturer guidelines before trying any new tricks in caring for your diapers.
Pregnancy is a great time to start thinking about cloth diapering. Putting off decisions about cloth diapering until after baby is born often prolongs the start of cloth diapering. The sooner you start cloth diapering, the more money you'll save. However, don't be deterred if you're just starting to think about cloth diapering for your second or third child. Cloth diapering just one child can save your family thousands of dollars.